Former Congressman to Deliver VCU Commencement Address

J.C. Watts Jr., former United States congressman from Oklahoma, will deliver the featured address next month at Virginia Commonwealth University’s 2012 commencement ceremony.

Watts represented the fourth district of Oklahoma in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2002. After his first two terms as a congressman, Watts was selected by his peers to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference – the fourth-ranking leadership position of the majority party in the House of Representatives.

Currently, Watts serves as chairman of J.C. Watts Companies, a multi-industry holding firm that includes Mustang Equipment, which consists of John Deere dealerships, and Watts Partners, a government and public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. Watts also advises numerous Fortune 500 companies and serves on the boards of directors for Dillard’s Department Stores, CSX Corp. and ITC Holdings. In addition, Watts serves on the board of the Boy Scouts of America and created the J.C. and Frankie Watts Foundation to focus on urban renewal and other charitable initiatives.

Watts was a star quarterback on the football team at the University of Oklahoma, leading the Sooners to two consecutive Big Eight Championships and Orange Bowl victories in 1980 and 1981. He later played five seasons in the Canadian Football League. Following his football career, he served as a youth minister and associate pastor before running for public office.

Commencement exercises will be held at 10 a.m. on May 12 at the Richmond Coliseum. Watch the ceremony online at For more information about the ceremony, visit

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see